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January 4, 2016

In 2016, The Economist says in this short video, the richest 1 percent of the world's population will, for the first time, have a larger share of global wealth than the other 99 percent.

Wealth and income inequality used to be a topic that concerned mostly leftist and Marxist economists, but this week it is perhaps the major topic of discussion and research at the American Economic Association's annual meeting in San Francisco, The New York Times reports. And the top 1 percent of the wealth isn't even the real story; the biggest gains in wealth have been among the top 0.25 percent of earners, roughly 250,000 people whose income has ballooned in recent decades while the typical American worker is earning roughly the same.

The economists disagree over the consequences and policy prescriptions for the growing wealth chasm, but "this is a truly global phenomenon, and I don’t know any serious economist who would deny inequality has gone up," says Nicholas A. Bloom, a Stanford economics professor. "The debate is over the magnitude, not the direction."

The Times focus on a paper Bloom is writing with four other economists which shows that the top quarter of 1 percent of Americans — those earning $640,000 or more a year — have seen their salaries double from 1981 to 2013, even accounting for inflation, but that the pay of the highest-paid employees at large, successful companies has gone up 140 percent while the wages of the typical employee at these corporate juggernauts have fallen 5 percent. "There's no reason the free market will solve this," says Bloom, whom The Times describes as "a native of Britain whose politics veer toward a laissez-faire approach and the Conservative Party there." You can read more about Bloom's research and the annual AEA meeting at The New York Times. Peter Weber

7:55 a.m. ET
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Leila, Liina, and Lily Luik have many things in common: Their parents, their birthday, and soon, their status as Olympic marathoners at the 2016 games in Rio.

Although the International Olympic Committee does not keep track of siblings, Olympic historian Bill Mallon told The New York Times that he is "99.99 percent sure" triplets have never competed together in the same or separate Summer or Winter Olympics. "This just doesn't happen," Mallon said.

Hailing from Estonia, the triplets are well known in their home country, although none of them are expected to medal in the games. It was only six years ago that any of them even began to take running seriously. Another Olympic historian, Taavi Kalju, hopes the trio will finish in the top 50, with Liina aiming to crack the top 20.

"Three together, we get so much energy from each other. No one wants to be the slowest. We push, push, push," Leila said.

Read more about the trials of the Trio for Rio in The New York Times. Jeva Lange

7:24 a.m. ET

Major Brexit campaigner and the former mayor of London, Boris Johnson, will not run for prime minister, he announced in a shocking decision on Thursday. Following the resignation of Prime Minister David Cameron after the Brexit vote, Johnson was all but assumed to be the successor.

"This is not a time to quail, it is not a crisis, nor should we see it as an excuse for wobbling or self-doubt, but it is a moment for hope and ambition for Britain," Johnson said Thursday.

All eyes now turn to Michael Gove, an ally of Johnson's, and Theresa May, the home secretary, who has also made a bid to lead the Conservative Party. Jeva Lange

7:10 a.m. ET
Gokhan Tan/Getty Images

Turkish officials announced on Thursday that the suicide bombers in the Ataturk Airport attack, which killed 42 and wounded dozens more on Tuesday, were from Russia, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan. Also on Thursday, the Istanbul police reported that they have detained 13 suspects following the attacks; the police raids all targeted suspected Islamic State operatives, according to the state-run news agency. Three of the detainees are foreign nationals. No terrorist group has yet claimed responsibility for the Ataturk attacks. Jeva Lange

5:50 a.m. ET
YASUYOSHI CHIBA/AFP/Getty Images

The 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics are fast approaching, but concerns about whether or not the city is prepared to host the Games are mounting in the face of a growing list of scandals. On Wednesday, mutilated body parts, including a severed foot, washed up on Copacabana Beach near the court where the Olympic beach volleyball competitions are set to take place. Police aren't sure where the body parts came from, but they may be connected to recent violent attempts to capture a Brazilian drug trafficker that resulted in gun battles throughout the city's slums, The Independent reports.

Killings in Rio have been on the rise in the first half of 2016, according to The Associated Press. Rio's acting governor has warned the Games could be a "big failure" due to a lack of funding and security shortages. Last week, an Australian Paralympian was robbed at gunpoint in Rio while riding her bike. Meanwhile, the lab in charge of drug testing for the Games has been suspended for not conforming to international standards, and several high-profile athletes have decided to skip the Games due to fears about Zika. Jessica Hullinger

1:32 a.m. ET
Kim Jae-Hwan/AFP/Getty Images

Author Alvin Toffler, whose 1970 book Future Shock sold millions of copies and was translated into dozens of languages, died Monday at his home in Los Angeles. He was 87.

His Virginia-based consulting firm Toffler Associates confirmed his death. Toffler was born and raised in Brooklyn to immigrants from Poland, and started writing when he was a child. He gained international fame with Future Shock, and in the book, he "synthesized disparate facts from every corner of the globe" and "concluded that the convergence of science, capital, and communications was producing such swift change that it was creating an entirely new kind of society," The New York Times says.

Toffler popularized the phrase "information overload," and foresaw the development of cloning, the influence of computers on the world, and the invention of cable television and the internet. He followed Future Shock up with two more successful books: The Third Wave in 1980 and Powershift in 1990. He is survived by his wife, Heidi, and sister, Caroline Sitter. His daughter, Karen, died in 2000. Catherine Garcia

1:07 a.m. ET
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Authorities in Montana are searching for a grizzly bear they say attacked and killed a U.S. Forest Service law enforcement officer as he biked through the Flathead National Forest outside of Glacier National Park Wednesday afternoon.

In a statement, Flathead County Sheriff Chuck Curry said Brad Treat, 38, was fatally attacked at around 2 p.m. while riding on a trail with another person. "It appears they likely surprised the bear and Treat was taken off his bike by the bear," Curry said. The other rider was able to escape uninjured, ABC News reports. Treat was pronounced dead at the scene. It's rare for a bear to attack in the area, and since Glacier National Park was established in 1910, park officials say there have been 10 bear-related human deaths. Catherine Garcia

12:33 a.m. ET
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Even though he lost the 2012 presidential election, Mitt Romney says his family wants him to give the White House another shot this year.

"My wife and kids wanted me to run again this time," he told CBS News anchor John Dickerson Wednesday at the Aspen Ideas Festival. "I got an email from one of my sons yesterday, saying, 'You gotta get in, Dad. You gotta get in.'" He won't run, he said, as he doesn't think an independent candidate can win, and he wants to spare the feelings of his wife and children. "It's hard on family," Romney said. "It's hard on your spouse sitting there in debates agonizing over what you're going to say next or what your kids go through and your grandkids go through." Catherine Garcia

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